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April 12, 1970 - Image 18

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The Michigan Daily, 1970-04-12
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= -M




Robert Williams on revolution .,..

Continued from Page 7
himself, he is able to start trying to transform
** *
Talking about the ruling classes and the
workers in organizing won't ring a bell. That's
old hat. That's all right in some foreign countries
but here. peonle are not much concarned about
the ruling classes exploiting. For example, you,
can say, "Look what the Ford family's got, and
look at the Rockefeller's." This hasn't got a ring
to people because a man will say, "Well, what's
wrong with the Rockefellers?" Americans have
been taught that Rockefeller came to this country
with only a dime in his pocket. and with hard
work and talent became a great man in this
society. Most people don't want to destroy what
they consider to be the nath thev're dreaming
trot nral +-- 'inr't wgnt to close
down that path because they're basically selfish
and egotistical: they would like to be Rocke-
fellers themselves. And they'll come back to

down, people will listen to you. Because these
are real problems.
Primarily, our problems stem from the lack
of morality in America. Because when you have
morality, you don't have oppression. When you
have morality you don't have tyranny. When you
have morality you have fair and just government.
This is why America could tolerate a slave so-
ciety: because there was a lack of morality.
This is why now Americans can't eradicate in-
justice, and miscarriage of justice in the courts:
it's because of the lack of morality.
Changing the moral attitude should have
priority in America, because this country is not
poor. And although we have poor people in this
country, they are not as poor as some of the
people in some other countries. In those nations,
it was necessary under some conditions for the
people to make very drastic changes in the whole
social structure to eliminate waste, to take out
the wealth which was concentrated in just a few

Suppose tomorrow there were
an uprising and the
government were destroyed?
What would we have to
substitute for it?

Henry Ford f'nd th"y'll talk about how poor
Henry Ford worked in a iimkvard and scraped
parts together and horrow-d 105 and got started.
This is still in the minds ^f nonple. That is why
thev don't see the'e Ynne as Qreat vultures.
You also get rod-exls +alking about the work-
ers, the workers The Communist Party in the
United States has been preaching for half a
century about the Plass struggle and about work-
ers being exploited. and this tactic has failed. I
don't know what tv-e of (?eneral would go into the
field and keen uvinQ the same theory of warfare
that has failed otherc. Rt we've L'ot a new crop
of voth. and they've 'niney haPk to that same
kind of nonsen-e thea s n slnfans. the same ap-
peals Thie is why v',1onalr hove fyot to come up
with cmnethino no- 'l-,p"'ve failed to woo the.
worknrnrs. nd thov've failed to attract the black
Real problems
You've got to go to the nroblems the people
understand. You try to find oilt what's on their
minds, what is revally fae'ing them. Then you
start trvin' to +in +1h nrls toe+her - that gives
people the fplinAg that tnhv're nart of something
beinz formed. not something that's already
For exampie: talk ahout the basic problems
a man's having at home with his children, with
his debts and the fpelin. of insemlrity. the every-
day conmunitv affairg that are afflicting him
and maino m 1 ra Ijnhaorohleg
Or the nrohlm of women in the sunermark-
ets, with the hiQ'h .ost of food. This is a prob-
lem they one ev~ery day-they know it's there, it's
not a matter they have to imagine. Focus on the
high cost of livineg crime. and the fact the nation
is turnino to done Why is this taking place? I
don't moo,, tono on the 50m mitch as the law
and ordejr nl~orle hilt on the matter of anplving
soei'll -ne e
You've also pfrt pnl,+in on eNreday prob-
lem " n oo --" ' ' nore ho'in-
nin- -- -' - " n o o aiit.
Oro"nni; inr has o+t to ho -n iai +inal nro_
gram M'riel1 n-+ntin. "t-h ; eimnct im {si'-
ble for nmo ne*1n nm'b h ne--n of fod. infitnion,
pollution --ll of +l e aro n nhlomn, hut if you
put them in ev+romiQt rhotorir Ptht's not roing
to helm. Tf voj on o)t ond ay "The a pitalist dogs
are suckin your hlood. that is why food prices
are so high", pponle will say "What a bunch of
Communists. trying to stir un trouble." But if you
just go in a nice way and say-"This food is too
high, we need to get organized to get prices

hands, so that even children could have medical
attention and get an elementary education.
In most cases in this country, you'll find that
an elementary education is already available to
most children. And you'll find that some form of
medical attention is already available to most
people. So the question now is, how can people
have an adequate supply of the things they need
in life? This is a question also in American of a
lack of morality on the part of government of-
ficials, who don't consider the welfare of the
peonle who are suffering.
Whether moral change must come about
through revolution depends on the intelligence
and sensibilities of the power structure. People
who suffer and are oppressed eventually seek
change. And what causes the explosion is when
the nower structure tries to nrevent this change
from coming about. Now, when the power struc-
ture is smart, and is rational and moral, it joins
in to help bring about the conditions that would
make a better society.
Whether or not America is capable-of doing
this under the present system is a question to be
considered-because the government can do it. It
is within its means and capabilities. But I don't
think the administration that is there now is
willing, and I don't see any politician on the
scene who is much different. The problem is that
you don't need a politician now, you need a
morilist to lead America.
As long as there is corrupt politics the way
there is now, this country is not going to be able
to make a peaceful transition. The country is go-
ing further right, which brings about a state of
renrescion - and repression creates resistance
and eventually evolves to revolution, unless you
have somohodv in power who is sensitive to the
vn WTm of the oppressed.
Changing -America
You can't have change unless you know what
to change to. Now, the big thing is saving the
ponle. e.ming evervhodv from getting wiped
out. You could save thousands, millions of people
by iust stonning the war in Vietnam. Then,
by getting all the money that has been used for
the war, for the ABM, for the military and using
it on social problems--like building housing,
cleaning up pollution, improving education and
medical care-you could improve the life of
millions of people here. If you get these things
done now, it's not so necessary for a revolu-
You only want to change a system to im-
prove the quality of life, and first in ways other

than outright revolution, which is OK only as a
last resort when all other remedies have been
exhausted. Because once you take up that gun,
it's an all or nothing proposition. It's not a mat-
ter any more of winning some concessions-it's do
or die.
Don't make revolution just for the sake of
revolution. It's not enough to be an anarchist-
you've got to have some form of order, a plan
for what comes afterward.
But we haven't gone that far yet. Some
people are ahead of themselves. Suppose tomor-
row there were an uprising and the government
were destroyed in 14 days. What would we have to
substitute for it? We wouldn't have anything.
There are minor parties who have minor plans,
but they're not well organized, they aren't exper-
ienced, and they don't have the consent of the
people. This is a stage of struggle not too many
people have thought of._
The plans for what America should evolve
to are still to be designed. I'd like to see an
American society wherein the people would con-
trol and ascertain what is best for them. The
type of political structure will have to be worked
out. I don't think that you can create a new
government now if you expect it to last and to
be really effective, without its being some form
of socialist government. Socialism is more hu-
mane. It may not be the type known to Marxist-
Leninism; I don't think we can go to the Marxist-
Leninist textbook and say "This is what the
American people must have."
The plans much come from within the
American mind, and the American condition.
You've got to consider the fact that the American
mind has been molded by the so-called Affluent
Society, which is really a corrupt and degenerate
society. Americans d.on't have the same outlook
at foreigners, as the people in, the books, as
Lenin. Look at the Russia he created his theory
around-oh man, that is a long time ago. This
is a new world, a new people.
There are university students that are bril-
liant in this country. Why are they searching
around for something old and already worn?
Why don't American students set out to de-
sign the type of theory that will meet this coun-
ry's conditions? What America should evolve to
is still to be designed. We need some plan to go
by-but don't look for someone else's plan.
Black nationalism
The racial struggle should be given prior-
ity in American radicalmovements.
When radicals speak of white oppression,
they're talking about working conditions and ma-
terial gain-this type of thing. They're not talk-
ing about police brutality, as far as white people
go in general. But the fact is that whites on the
whole are about as well off as any people any
place else in the world, no matter what system
they work under. Now there's a lot of unemploy-
ment developing which constitutes a s o c i a l
problem-but on the whole these things could
be taken care of even without a drastic change in
the system, if the government wanted to. This
government, even under capitalism, could provide
fair housing for everybody, could provide full em-
ployment for everybody, and it couldprovide full
medical care.
But our problem, the problem of the black
people, is deeper than that. A white man may
be exploited, but he's still 'got more privileges
than the black man. Now, the white man's son
can be born into the poorest family in America
and there is still the possibility that he could be-
come president of the United States. But some
things are closed down to blacks forever.
An integrated society is an ideal society.
It's only logical that people should be able to live
together and not judge each other on the basis
of skin pigmentation. People should be judged
upon their own individual worth, their own per-
sonality, and their own capacity and talent. But
in America, because we have racism, this is not
true. So we must be realistic and we must face
Th fact is, whites and blacks are already
separated. I think it should be more formal. Now

we do have de facto separation, but I think
blacks should be given the opportunity for true
self-determination. Because America is immoral
and degenerate, and because we are a minority
and can't expect to outvote white America
Continued on Page 22

psychiatrists in great num-
ber who are cheerfully
candling heads by the
thousands at military in-
duction centers, and a host
of others who are throwing
their weight on the side of
the police, the prosecutor
and his bountiful staff, and
the People (about 5,000,-
000) of the Sovereign State
of Michigan - and all
against one penniless and
solitary defendant w h o
with a fair share of luck
may get a court appointed
attorney to speak up in his
Well-meaning, "liberal"
Ann Arbor parents are bust-
ing their own kids to the
police for minor infractions
of laws so blatantly, uncon-
stitutionally despotic that
they never should have
been there in the first place
- but how many decades
(a n d man-centuries of
fraudulent imprisonment)
would pass before they
could make it to a Supreme
Court test? No, it will take
more and better courts and
a new breed of judge and
lawmakers to handle t h a t
job - if its many victims
are to be spared the obliga-
tion of taking the task upon
themselves. Whatever else
the courts may need, a basic
minimum requirement is
that the judges get rid of
those absurd black robes
(send them the way of the
powdered periwigs) a n d
come out from behind the
high benches and do their
job as fellow citizens. Re-
spect for legal process is not
to be found in a ritual of
public ass-kissing.
The kids are being denied

the most obvious of their
Constitutional guarantees
right in their own homes.
They are badgered and
beaten ("under duress" is
the technical term for this)
to testify against them-
selves, then "grounded" in-
terminably, or dragged off
to their friendly neighbor-
hood shrink for a protract-
ed head job, and the out-
come is the same whether
they confess or tell t h e i r
tormenters the lies t h e y
want to hear. Hence the
popular parental complaint:

j e c t e d to unwarranted
searches and seizures. When
a few "dirty" contraband
mags are turned up from
Sonny's private desk draw-
er ("dirty" being mommy's
and daddy's personal pro-
nouncement on pictures of
beautiful naked people, es-
pecially if they happen to
be verging on or actually
doing what mommy a n d
daddy did to beget Sonny)
then a favorite punishment
of our time and place is
compulsory church attend-
ance for umpteen months.

here in liberal little o 1 d
Ann Arbor town, right? Af-
ter the Chicago Ten-minus-
one debacle, where a hand-
ful of mad idealists .w e r e
remanded to prison for fool-
ishly insisting on their right
to participate in represen-
tational government, a n d
their defense counsel pun-
ished accordingly for trying
to do his job and for being
publicly contemptuous of
the conspicuously contemp-
tible, some of our students
sought to march in orderly
protest. They voted against

The officer who arrests you, the judge who sentences
you and the warden who imprisons you may well be
the criminal offenders under Constitutional law, and
your resistance against their illegal actions an act of
courageous patriotism.



"He's a chronic, pathologi-
cal liar.",
The young are denied the
right to face their accusers
"I know you've b e e n
smoking dope. Never mind
who told me"-and the right
to a hearing before a jury
of their peers. We may not
know exactly what a "peer"~
is, but a 15 year old kid
standing along before a
black-robed, 60 year o 1 d
judge with a big wooden
hammer in his hand and a
spine-chilling smile on his
face is roughly as peerless
(sic) as a'raggedy old black
man on trial before a pros-
perols. all white jury and a
chartreuse magistrate.
Kids are routinely sub-

Anyone for freedom of reli-
Or how about freedom of
the local press? The A n n
Arbor Argus was learned on
so heavily by our hometown
freedom lovers (freedom for
our kind of paper, not that
filthy radical rag), that it
nearly went under. Hound-
ed from one location to
another as an undesirable
element in the community,
it was finally forced to put
out another edition.
Point counterpoint: Justice
Douglas tells us that t h e
"underground" newspaper
is about the only vestige of
a free press left in t h i s
country today.
Dissent? No problem

"trashing," physically re-
strained a few extremists
(?) among them who mov-
ed toward tossing r o c k s
through the prexy's window,
then strolled on down Hur-
on Street toward the court
house. Their mild manner-
ed dissent was met with a
clubswinging assault by the
very long arm of the law.
Speech and Political Pam-
phleteering? Douglas points
out that the political pam-
phlet a la Thomas Paine is
at the heart of the Ameri-
can freedom tradition. And
yet -one of our native pam-
'phleteers, who espouses a
mind-staggering program
for non-violent revolution
(via rock and roll and



talitarianism, the attempt
to bring the whole of life
under authoritarian con-
trol. We are bitterly fa-
miliar w i t h totalitarian
politics in the form of bru-
tal regimes which achieve
their integration by blud-
geon and bayonet. But in
the case of the technoc-
r a c y, totalitarianism i s

w h i c h science has given
The alternative to the
technocracy Roszak sees is
not a historic radical move-
ment w i t h international
proportions, not the rising
of people of color and
w h i t e anti - imperialists
around the world but a far-
out youth movement with

perfected because its tech-
niques become progressive-
ly m o r e subliminal. The
distinctive feature of the
r e g i m e of experts lies in
the fact that, while pos-
sessing a m p le power to
coerce, it prefers to charm
conformity from us by ex-
poiting our d e e p seated
commitment to the scien-
tific w o r l d view and by
manipulating t h e securi-
ties and creature comforts
of the industrial affluence

liberated forms of expres-
sion-a youth culture.
It is not willingness to act
and analytic skills which
distinguish the youth c u 1-
ture, but the cultivation of
If there is to be an alter-
native to the technocracy,
there must be an appeal
from this reductive ration-
ality which objective con-
sciousness dictates. This,
so I have urged, is the pri-
mary project of our coun-

ter culture: to proclaim a
new heaven and a new
earth so vast, so marvel-
ous t h a t the inordinate
claims of technical exper-
tise must of necessity
withdraw in the presence
of such splendor to a sub-
ordinate a n d marginal
status in the lives of men.
This "proclamation"
hearkens back to the role of
the shaman in tribal life:
The New Left that rebels
against technocratic ma-
nipulation in the name of
participatory . democracy
draws, often without real-
izing it, upon an anarchist
tradition which has always
championed the virtues of
the primitive b a n d, the
tribe, the village. .. . Our
beatniks and hippies press
the critique even further.
Their instinctive fascina-
tion with magic and ritual,
tribal lore, and psychedelic
experience a t t e mp t to
resuscitate the d e f u n c t
shamanism of the distant
It is not that Roszak's
arguments are merely
wrong; 'rather, his vision of
mainstream c ult ur e and
counter-culture is inadequ-
ate, it embodies a bad per-
spective. Roszak accents in
his vision the powerfulness
of the technocracy and neg-
lects its capacity to bore
and o p p r e s s and make
massive blunders. He neg-
lects the capacity of radi-
cals to come together and

by will and intellect and
energy, not simply by imag-
ination, to make a stand.
Roszak's version of Mar-
cuse is that individuals are
powerless to resist the ab-
sorption and neutralization
of dissenting ideas and im-
ages by the unfeeling tech-
nocratic managers. A more
realistic version is that the
technocracy is starved for
creative imagination a n d
like a fungus absorbs the
life of other forms without
becoming g r e e n or san-
guine. Radicals are not
f o 1 e d by technocracy's
psychedelic, tokenly - radi-
cal types, its mis-digested
re-formulations of radical
Yet even if the larger so-
ciety is not so voracious, so
c a p a b le of gulping down
dissent and creative imagi-
nation, it is quite capable
of smothering it. Radicals
who 1 i v e in conventional
American and Western
European environments are
surrounded by monopoly
capitalism's bad air, com-
mercial values, technocra-
tic forms of social organi-
zation and insane, unfeel-
ing modes of life. Radical
actions, if they are not for-
tuitously effective, are like
single punches into a colos-
sal pillow. The larger so-
ciety, as deteriorating as it
may seem, is capable of
absorbing and i g n o r in g
what seem to be head-on
Roszak's appeal to primi-
tive shamanism, to "make

..... .. t. .nm
_ .,.
i 1 1. /ti : t 4, t ice..,. .. .. ,.Mx. ._ ... .,

Sunday, April 12, 19/0 Sunday, April 12, 1970


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